If you’re on the lookout for a Hotel stay which will take you to all new heights, look no further than the Shangri-La Hotel in the Shard.
Occupying levels 34-52 of the iconic building, Shangri-La Hotel in the Shard is undoubtedly one of the city’s most exciting check-ins and a chance to really see the breathtaking views London has to offer.
Upon entering, you are whisked up to the lobby on the 35th floor in a lift which takes a mere 20 seconds – and leaves your stomach a few seconds behind. The lift doors open to reveal an unrivalled view of the city laid out at your feet – train lines snaking between buildings tall and the small, colourful splashes of cars, ant-size dots swarming to work, lights flashing and flickering. Life passes below at an alarming rate, yet up in the Shard it feels so calm, so collected, so serene. Gentle music plays and swish carpets tickle at the soles of your shoes.
The reception staff, are friendly and helpful, checking us in and taking us up to our room swiftly. We were on floor 51 in a deluxe King room with a city view and it is well worth paying the extra to stay on this side of the Hotel. (Although every side of the shard has a spectacular view) Our room overlooked the London Eye, the Thames, Big Ben and most of the iconic London landmarks. From watching the morning mist rising over the city, to the sun setting and casting a warm orange glow over the whole of London, it really is the most spectacular way to see London as you never have before.
The room in the Shangri-La featured a plush King size bed, writing desk, binoculars, armchairs and side table, ideal for relaxing with a glass of Champagne and watching the world go by. The decor itself is contemporary and clean, with splashes of the Shangri-La’s Asian heritage interwoven in sleek golden accents and smooth, flowing lines. The floor to ceiling windows are impressive and electronic blinds can be controlled from many different points in the room.The bathroom was one of the highlights of the room – oozing opulence and luxury, a glimmering marble floor paved way to a bath and a separate shower both overlooking the whole of London. Deliciously scented salts created a bath as luxurious as it was beautiful, the calming scents, bubbles and mirror with an attached television made for a bath you would never forget, nor be likely to rival.
The final piece de resistance of the bathroom was the toilet, its high tech features such as an electronically heated seat a real treat for one’s derriere. From top to bottom (pardon the pun) every aspect at the Shangri-La is thought of and it is the culmination between the beautiful decor, the thoughtful touches and the impeccably attentive staff which made it near impossible to find fault.
Shangri-La Hotel – The Pool
In case you were thinking a pool is just a pool, Shangri-La proves you are very much mistaken. They take swimming and raise it to a whole new level – quite literally. Situated on the 52nd floor (the same floor as the Gong bar and the Hotel’s state of the art gym) is the Shangri-La swimming pool. Designed by Hong Kong based interior designer Andre Fu (the designer also behind Gong). Decor is swanky and elegant, each detail carefully refined. Gilt gold and splashes of blacks and beiges decorate the walls, gentle spotlights ooze a gentle glow from the ceiling as the welcoming blue of the water beckons you at first glance. On our trips to the pool (both evening and morning) it was never too busy and there was always a waiter around to replenish towels (amazingly fluffy!) and refill the complimentary coffee and water facilities- a nice touch.
The best thing about the pool however, is of course the views. 600ft from the ground, the views are phenomenal and nothing quite so motivating as the whole city laid beneath you to swim a few laps and relax in the tranquil surroundings. It is breathtaking and the best swim I have ever had in my life. Fact: At 600ft the Pool is highest swimming pool in Europe
Shangri-La Hotel – Dinner
Dinner in Ting is an experience in itself and one well worth trying. Meaning ‘Living Room’ it is a cosy space situated on the 35th floor. Again, there are all-round views and no matter where you sit it’s hard not to be amazed. Soft swirls of pink intertwine with delicate blue and cream hues and a real sense of grandeur fills the air.
We were led to our table promptly and wine orders taken swiftly – the prices were more reasonable than we had imagined, a bottle of white originating at around £36. The menu itself is pleasantly unfussy (five starters and five mains), this selected availability a breath of fresh air from a choice of 25 half-heartedly slapped-together dishes.
Ting prides itself in cooking everything to perfection and that it really did. Price wise it can rack up a bill almost as high as the restaurant, (starters are around the £15-£18 mark) but again, you do get what you pay for and the food really does redeem itself against the price tag. I opted for the seared ham hock terrine, with blood orange, endive and pickled radishes. Delicious and beautiful, it was a nice way to commence the meal, the flavours exciting, yet not overpoweringly so and just enough to whet your appetite for the main course without filling you up to much. My partner chose the Hand-Dived-Scallops which came garnished with heritage carrot, ginger, mandarin and coriander. Again, it was presented beautifully and infused with a myriad of flavours to create a real treat to the palette.
Mains-wise I opted for the steak with a side of fries and Peppercorn sauce. It came medium rare (as requested) and aside from being a little fatty, was a good size and off-set wonderfully by the flavour of the peppercorn sauce. My partner’s venison was the better choice of the two, succulent and tender and more flavoursome than the steak. It was served with Jerusalem artichoke, wild mushroom and chestnuts adding a slight crunch and a range of exciting textures and tastes to the tongue. Desserts are really where Ting comes into play however. An apricot tea ice cream with hazelnut crumble married together the perfect combination of freshness and creaminess, the ice cream smooth and light upon the tongue and the crumble a welcoming accompaniment. My partners choice of Black Forest dark cremeux with black cherry sorbet was an exciting finisher to the meal. The dark cherry flavours were rich and forthcoming, the sponge light and airy with just the right amount of moisture and the presentation a treat to the eyes as well as the taste buds.
We rounded off our meal with an exploration to Gong on the 52nd floor. Whilst you might have to wait for a table, it is well worth it when you sit down and even if you can’t immediately get seated by the window, the waiting staff will move you if one becomes available.
Dining in the Shangri-La at the Shard is a real unforgettable experience and one well worth trying for a special occasion. The dishes were presented to perfection, the tastes married together perfectly, portion sizes more than adequate. Waiters were helpful, prompt and well-informed and to while the evening away with fine food, fine wine and a map of London bursting with life spilling beneath you is a really cherishable experience.
Shangri-La Hotel – The Summary
The Shard is a real one of a kind experience. It is a Hotel to make a real trip of and shows that a hotel can and should be so much than just a room. From the staff to the decor, to the food and the small touches such as binoculars in the room and complimentary tea and coffee, it is a one-of-a-kind experience and something everyone needs to experience. For the next special occasion, make it the best night of your life and head up to the Shangri-La for a Hotel stay you will never forget.
Shangri-La Hotel in the Shard
31 St Thomas St
London SE1 9QU